Hamas confirms absence from PLO meeting in Ramallah

Palestinian group Hamas on Saturday confirmed that it would not attend Sunday’s Central Council meeting of the umbrella Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). “We have decided not to attend the meeting of the PLO Central Council in Ramallah,” Hamas spokesman Hossam Badran said in a statement. He said the decision had been taken after consultations with several Palestinian groups. “We have concluded that the current circumstances will not enable the Council to make a comprehensive and responsible political review,” he said. The PLO meeting was called by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last month to discuss steps to be taken against U.S. President Donald’s Trump decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. On Friday, Palestine’s official radio said Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh had officially told the chairman of the PLO’s Palestinian National Council, Salim Zanoun, that his group would not attend the meeting. A senior Hamas leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Anadolu Agency that “the meeting will be held without a specific agenda, which strengthened the conviction by the movement’s leadership that no concrete decisions will be taken.” The Islamic Jihad movement earlier said that it would not participate in the meeting as it would be held in an Israeli-occupied city. The PLO is an umbrella group that includes most major Palestinian political factions, with the exception of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both of which are committed to a policy of armed resistance against Israel’s decades-long occupation. Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — occupied by Israel — might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

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